Once upon a time there was a little boy who had both a dog and a monster.
This boy spent his summer days with the dog traveling out with him in the morning and returning each afternoon in the hottest part of the day to cool in the shade of the back porch with the glass of lemonade provided by the woman known to the adults as The Girl and to the boy as Maya. Maya was unique among the Girls of the neighborhood in that she agreed with her boy on two subjects. One, that the grey dog, called Roy, was the best dog in the neighborhood and deserved his spot at the north end of the boy’s bed every night. Two, that the monster that took its days in the cool dirt under the back porch stairs and its nights with the dust and stray dog bones under the south end of the boy’s bed was just the right sort of monster for a 10 year‐old boy to have. Of course, this also meant that Maya believed in the monster. She was the only adult in Grifter’s Bend who did not subscribe to the views of Dr. September, the child psychologist. She knew that the monsters were as real as the dogs, and the sister’s cats, and the hamsters in dirty aquariums that also existed in the boys’ worlds. Our boy, whose name is Duffy Jackson, is particularly lucky to have Maya in his house from 9 to 6 Monday through Saturday excepting Wednesday afternoons, when she goes to see her own mama and get ready for church.